Paxil Withdrawal Effects

If discontinuation reactions occur in patients stopping (Paxil), the majority will experience symptoms that are mild to moderate in intensity, and are usually limited to two weeks.

— GSK spokesperson Mary Anne Rhyne, 2005

Knowledgeable and informed consumer advocates accede there might be a modicum of truth in that GlaxoSmithKline claim, however, it willfully ignores the fact that there are untold thousands of individuals who experience:

  • severe
  • prolonged
  • debilitating
  • life-threatening
  • withdrawals from Paxil.

    Some survivors of a severe Paxil withdrawal liken the effects to what Nazi death camp "doctor" Josef Mengele's drug "medical" experiment victims might have endured. If that's the case, then one can only imagine what the horror of a severe Paxil withdrawal is like for infants given birth to by mothers taking Paxil, since they are unable to speak.

    ....they ("electrical zaps") are no longer overwhelming and consuming the landscape of my mind (and sanity) like a plague of electrical locusts. Maybe, in a way, I sense I am near the end of this journey — that I am close to being able to say “adios” and good riddance to the hell they brought. What a pleasure to feel them fade towards nothingness and, I pray, that’s what’s happening. I can feel them still trying to wreak their havoc, but I believe my brain has gained the upper hand in this bizarre chemical battle. It's almost like the little bastards were living things in my head; vectors from another dimension of an unknown reality.

    — journal entry, day #91
    from a Paxil withdrawal diary
    kept by Rob Robinson, a Paxil survivor.

    GSK's "Do More, Feel Better, Live Longer" video
    (Windows Media Player or RealOne Player required to view)

    The following list of Paxil withdrawal-related symptoms is adapted from Joseph Glenmullen, M.D.'s book The Antidepressant Solution.

    PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS

    That Mimic Depression
    Crying spells, Worsened mood, Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise); Trouble concentrating, Insomnia or trouble sleeping, Change in appetite, Suicidal thoughts, Suicide attempts
    That Mimic Anxiety Disorders
    Anxious, nervous, tense; Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless); Chest pain; Trembling, jittery, or shaking
    Irritability and Aggression
    Irritability, Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity); Impulsivity, Aggressiveness, Self-harm, Homicidal thoughts or urges
    Confusion and Memory Problems
    Confusion or cognitive difficulties; Memory problems or forgetfulness
    Mood Swings
    Elevated mood (feeling high), Mood swings, Manic-like reactions
    Hallucinations
    Auditory hallucinations, Visual hallucinations
    Dissociation
    Feeling detached or unreal
    Other
    Excessive or intense dreaming, Nightmares

    MEDICAL SYMPTOMS

    That Mimic the Flu
    Flu-like aches and pains, Fever, Sweats, Chills, Runny nose, Sore eyes
    That Mimic Gastroenteritis
    Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain or cramps, Stomach bloating
    Dizziness
    Disequilibrium; Spinning, swaying, lightheaded; Hung over or waterlogged feeling, Unsteady gait, poor coordination, Motion sickness
    Headache
    Headache
    Tremor
    Tremor
    Sensory Abnormalities
    Numbness, burning, or tingling; Electric zap-like sensations in the brain; Electric shock-like sensations in the body, Abnormal visual sensations, Ringing or other noises in the ears, Abnormal smells or tastes
    Other
    Drooling or excessive saliva, Slurred speech, Blurred vision; Muscle cramps, stiffness, twitches; Feeling of restless legs, Uncontrollable twitching of mouth

    If you, or someone you know, suffered withdrawals while on Paxil, please report it immediately to the United States Food and Drug Administration. This is one way consumer leverage can be applied to GlaxoSmithKline; eventually this official documentation will compel the company to fully disclose the "adverse side effects" of Paxil. You can report your side effects at: MedWatch.